The real alternatives

There are resounding successes, and then there are Labour party in Scotland annual conferences. What was supposed to be Kezia Dugdale’s big break and her chance to re-re-relaunch Labour’s ill-fated federalism fairytale was instead dominated by all the wrath at Khan for his ill-advised speech. That was the speech in which London mayor Sadiq Khan said that Scottish nationalism wasn’t racist, it was just exactly the same thing as racism. He then tried to clarify his remarks by saying that he just meant that Scottish nationalism was divisive in the same way that extreme far right racist organisations are divisive, but that doesn’t mean that Scottish nationalism is in any way similar to extreme right wing racism except in those ways that it is. So that’s OK then and we’re grateful to Sadiq for the clarification.

Meanwhile all sorts of unlikely Labour sympathisers came to Sadiq’s defence. Sympathisers who themselves have more than a touch of the right wing about themselves, and who were strangely silent when Sadiq Khan was subjected to a racist dog-whistling campaign at the hands of the Tories in the London mayoral elections. You know that Labour has got a problem in presenting itself as the sole voice of left wing progressive politics in Scotland when one of its fiercest supporters is a rabidly right wing website written by a former Daily Mail journalist. But then Labour’s own strategist is a former Daily Mail journalist so we shouldn’t be too surprised.

The crap that’s being poured on the independence movement already is a small harbinger of the tsunami of British nationalist diarrhoea that is heading our way once the second independence referendum has officially been called. We’ve seen all this before, remember when someone threw an egg at Jim Murphy and all of a sudden there were anguished articles in the British media about how Scottish nationalism was all but indistinguishable from terrorism. Meanwhile the very real violence meted out by Unionist thugs went unremarked.

The controversy over Sadiq Khan’s nonsensical and ill-advised speech distracted from the message that Labour was hoping to present. To be honest however, Kezia Dugdale ought to be grateful for the distraction, because the message that Labour in Scotland wanted to present was incoherent, poorly thought out, and doesn’t enjoy the support of her bosses in London. Let’s have a new form of federalism! Was the battle cry from Labour, despite the fact that they had promised exactly that in 2014 but as soon as the No vote was safely in the bag Labour forgot all about its promise of a new form of Home Rule and instead played devolution jenga with the Tories, each one of them competing with the other to remove as many powers as possible from the Smith Commission proposals. They didn’t do it in 2014 when they had the chance, and now that Labour has one MP in Scotland and zero credibility there’s even less chance anyone will believe them this time.

Labour’s proposals for federalism are even more spectacularly ill judged than Argyll and Bute’s new campaign to attract inward investment and tourism by plastering an image of a nuclear submarine all over its new brochure. It’s an interesting tactic to encourage tourism, come and visit Dunoon or we’ll nuke you. Come to Argyll and stand outside a barbed wire fence and get arrested for spying if you try to take photies. Who needs swimming with dolphins when instead you can swim with a nuclear sub which the Royal Navy is going to rename HMS Flipper? And unlike swimming with a dolphin swimming with a radioactive submarine bearing nuclear missiles really will leave you with a warm glow. And infertility. The entire idea is as sterile as Labour’s plan. The cooncil must have been advised by the same people who planned Labour’s federalism strategy.

On Sunday, while the party was still reeling from being the ground zero of Sadiq’s idiocy, we got some more idiocy in the shape of Jeremy Corbyn. Scotland’s too poor to be independent, he told us, while Labour MSPs tweeted that you can’t eat a flag. Unless it’s the red one that Labour likes to pretend is its flag. That would be the red flag that Labour can only get to wave as long as the rest of us have to have the red white and blue one.

Jez isn’t too keen on Kez’s plan for federalism. He doesn’t want a new Act of Union, and he’s really not keen on devolution for the English regions. The truth is that there is no more appetite for English regional devolution now than there was back in 1997 when it was first mooted as part of the Blair government’s plans. Without English devolution any federalism plan is dead in the water as Scotland will still be outvoted by England’s representatives. Labour in the rest of the UK isn’t very interested in the idea, the Tories are dead set against it. Kezia’s great hope to save her party with a constitutional convention is dead in the water. The only people who’ll be coming to her pity party are her own dwindling band of supporters.

Labour claims that independence isn’t an escape from Brexit. It isn’t an escape from the Tories, and it’s not an alternative. Independence is all three of those things. In an independent Scotland we will be able to remain a part of the EU, so it is an escape from Brexit. In an independent Scotland we will be able to introduce better and more humane immigration laws so it will be an escape from the xenophobic migrant phobic future that the Tories have in store for us. It will be an escape from the Tories, because in an independent Scotland we will only have a majority Conservative government if an absolute majority of Scottish voters are foolish enough to vote for one. In the UK Scotland gets a Conservative majority government when we only return a single solitary stuffed toy Tory and due to first past the post it’s only supported by a minority of voters in the rest of the UK. Independence is an escape from that, an escape into democracy. Independence is an alternative. It’s an alternative to the politics of a UK. It’s an alternative to the madness of Brexit. It’s an alternative to the selfish mendacity of Theresa May. It’s an alternative to the fantasy politics we saw at Labour’s conference in Perth. The fact Labour can’t see that goes a long way to explaining why it’s at 14% in the polls. Nothing they said or did at their Perth conference is going to help them recover.

Labour voters, Labour supporters, it’s time to deal with reality. Do you want a nasty right wing xenophobic Tory Britain, or a progressive social democratic independent Scotland. Those are the real alternatives. I know which I prefer.

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0 thoughts on “The real alternatives

  1. Pingback: The real alternatives | speymouth

  2. Apologies if this isn’t the quite right place, but I stumbled on the following article which looks into the underlying source of the English resistance to both the EU and Scottish Independence.

    The author, Prof. Nicholas Boyle, does go on a bit, but here are IMO his three key insights :

    “For the English, the United Kingdom occupies the psychic space once filled by the empire: it is the last guarantor of their characterlessness, it is the phantom which in the English mind substitutes for the England which the English will not acknowledge is their only home. They will not acknowledge it lest they become just another nation like everybody else, with a specific, limited identity, a specific history, neither specially honourable nor specially dishonourable, with limited weight, limited resources, and limited importance in the world now that their empire is no more.”

    “The absence of a separate English parliament reduces the nations granted devolved assemblies to the marginal status the English gave them in the days of glory, as those slightly comical regional variations on a Britishness of which England – invisible and characterless in itself – was therefore alone representative. The decision of June 23, then, was not a decision taken by ‘the British people’ because ‘the British people’ do not exist: ‘the people’ is not a meaningful political concept and ‘Britain’ is a figment invented by the English to disguise their oppressive, indeed colonial, relation to the other nations inhabiting Great Britain and Ireland.”

    “The referendum vote does not deserve to be respected because, as an outgrowth of English narcissism, it is itself disrespectful of others, of our allies, partners, neighbours, friends, and, in many cases, even relatives. Like resentful ruffians uprooting the new trees in the park and trashing the new play area, 17 million English, the lager louts of Europe, voted for Brexit in an act of geopolitical vandalism.”

    • Well done Marconatrix! That is a good summary of the article, and the last point is completely correct. Brexit was disrespectful, as shown by the rise in racist attacks during, and especially after, the vote, and in the attitude of “taking back control” of things we already had control over, or had voted for in Europe. The vote effectively was a slap in the face to the other partners by indicating that we wanted no part of them or their ethos, rules or regulations, despite the fact that we had voted for them in the first place. Since the vote, WMG has been disrespectful to the devolved assemblies, all of whom have complained about the lack of consultation, discussion or debate about the future of their particular needs. Even Carwyn Jones, despite the Welsh majority Brexit vote, wants Wales to have access to the Single Market. And although Rees-Mogg has stated that John Major’s intervention today were the bitter rantings of a failed Prime Minister, Major was correct when he said that a little more charm and a lot less cheap rhetoric would do much to protect the UK’s interests. He is also right when he said that the government were misleading the population over the difficulties and effects of leaving the EU.

      WeeDug, another great post. It looks and sounds like the new attempt to scare us into submission is well and truly underway. TM is supposedly coming to speak at the Scottish Tory Party conference this weekend to persuade voters to send a message to the SNP during the local elections. I really, really hope that the message is: go for it!

    • Thanks Marsonatrix.
      This is well worth drawing attention to, firstly and mainly because Professor Boyle, a well respected academic, speaks with some authority on the subject and secondly, the New European is a thoroughly good newspaper and well worth reading. I have been buying this paper for a number of weeks (it is a weekly not a daily paper) and the articles are generally well thought out a well researched.

    • I buy The European every week. Top paper. Just a pity we had to wait so long for The European and The National to make an appearance.

    • My comment has been picked up by a Welsh blogger who notes that the article referred to resembles the argument of one J. R. Jones who presented a very similar analysis over 50 years ago.

      While the idea became incorporated into certain strands of Welsh nationalist thinking, he says that unfortunately the great majority of Welsh people failed to get the message. “If events in Scotland turn out as I hope they will, then the game of the past 800 years will be over, leaving the English and Welsh in a completely new situation. My expectation is that the English will come to accept this fairly easily and with good grace.” [a bit optimistic that, no??] But he wonders whether the message will ever get through to the Welsh.

      I’ve asked for a reference to the J.R.J. material …

  3. Paul keep up the good work. I think we’re going to have to dig deep from here on in. The battle for Scottish democracy is truly on.

  4. An epically catastrophic weekend for Labour. Its been one disaster after another in quick succession. Non existant federalism, Mr Khan’s ill judged idiocy, Ms Dugdale’s speech magnificently ignored by the PLP and Labour leadership. Jezza’s non event speech and the media’s attempts to reignite a ‘blood and soil’ narrative that never was, falling flat on its can.

    The whole sorry show sad beyond words. Still, they’ve made their position and strategy perfectly clear. Project fear 2 is pretty much officially launched.

    Worth reminding folks not to rise to the click bait and there will be a lot of it over the coming months.

    a. Laugh and spoof
    b. Calmly observe and dissect
    c. Take 2 paracetamol and go to bed for a couple of days till the urge to chuck laptops, phones and tellies through the windae subsides.

    Haythangyouverramuch 🙂

    • There’s an eerie silence from Davidson and her Dim But Nasty LisTory Boys this week.
      Their turn this week end.
      Dugdale surely has to go.
      Sarwar has no chance of taking over the reins now.
      Labour in Scotland is dead.
      I take no pleasure in observing that.

      • No, not feeling like cheering much myself, but they truly made themselves irrelevant. Their actions this weekend and those of the media merely underscored the point as to the why of it.

        Mr Sarwar…. I’m not big on ad hominem as you know Jack, but that individual makes it awfy tempting to be sure. An individual who truly relishes UK politics as it is practised. No, he’d be even more catastrophic as branch manager than Ms Dugdale, merely for different reasons. Mind you any party convinced that Ms Dugdale would make a good leader, or a prospective FM… Safe to say there aren’t too many effective candidates on the ground.

        You know of course the tack that Ruthie will take already in her conference. It truly doesn’t require a degree in rocket science. It’s a case of how hard she’ll push it. She’ll have watched the backlash from labour’s hamfisted attempt to raise the racist card and wonder whether playing the sectarian one will be worth the candle. She’d risk proving the YES movement and Scottish government’s point for them.

        To cause the kind of division she requires though and release the kind of intimidation she seems hell bent on using as a political tool, she just might. She may just risk all on a throw of the right wing dice on a naked threat to the Scottish population. She has a career in WM politics to gain donchaknow? I doubt the collateral damage would worry her overmuch. It hasn’t to date.

        Regardless, the YES movement need to be prepared for the very worst of rhetoric from the Tories and the media. It will be calculated to inflame and enrage. It will be lurid and it will be loud.

        As I said above, responses A, B or C apply.

        • your right the torys are looking like frightened cornered rats and a cornered animal is most dangerous as 1 tory on newsnight last night has said scotlands going free and that may should not come to the tory confrence on friday in glasgow plus in the national the torys south of the border have been put on red alert over indy2 time to get ready for sure as ive got a feeling the imperials will be even nastier than last time

        • Education, the attainment gap, maths and sciences, why leave the UK when we trade 4 times as many goods with the Motherland than the rest of the UK, £15 billion deficit, most taxed ‘region’ of the UK, the British People voted Leave, and as democrats we need to support Brexit and get the best deal possible for all the British people, Nicola Sturgeon is obsessed with Independence, and the constitution, and it is clear that the ‘Scottish people’ don’t want one, and the uncertainty, and fratricidal mood of division is tearing the country apart, and she should be getting on with the day job, and John McTernan’s a wonderful man.
          Let’s Play Project Lies Bingo, Sam.
          Big T’s coming up to rally the Yoon Councillors to stand on a ‘fuck the Yessers and no to Independence’ ticket.
          Should be fun.
          Mundell’s speech?
          ‘ It’s not the question of whether there could be another Referendum, but whether there should be another Referendum.
          The Scottish People voted overwhelmingly to stay within the UK, and the British People voted overwhelmingly to Leave the EU.
          It’s clear that the Scottish People don’t want another Referendum…….’
          NHS waiting times, old folk trapped in hospital for 4,300 weeks, get on with the day job….It’s all Nicola Sturgeon’s fault.
          There, we don’t even have to tune in now.
          I don’t think that they’ll even slag off Labour and Wee Willie Winkie. They know that Dugdale and Rennie are doing the job for them.

      • When Labour are doing all their dirty work for them, the Tories normally remain silent Jack, The Tories will be laughing just now and they themselves will start making their offensive noises soon enough.

        • afriad not soar alba torys on red alert over indy2 and maggie mays coming to glasgow on friday to try tell us to not vote snp and vote for them as on tory on newsnight last night said she should stay away as scotlands going to be free so some in the torys know independance is inevitable

          • Exactly what did you think I said there Robert. I do not understand what you mean by “afraid not”.

        • Saor, The Tories used Labour as a contraceptive in Indyref 1, and the Branch Office paid the price at the UK GE May 2015, when we tossed them aside like an old used condom.
          Darling got his Lardship, and Gordon got a job with the Masters of the Universe, though, but, mind.
          Watch out for the angry warlike terminology; ‘warlike footing’, ‘fratricide’, ‘pitting brother against brother’.
          I have no doubt that May will compare the Brexit negotiations with the 27 EU members to the Battle of Britain, and invoke the Dunkirk spirit.
          It is Britain against the Foreigners. We stand alone! And all that mince.
          There will be lots of Red White and Blue regalia and bunting,but falling short of waving the butcherss apron. There may even be a fly past by the Drone Squadron of the Red Arrows, swooping throughout the hall and buzzing the auditorium.
          But the main theme? Nicola Sturgeon’s a Bastur. (Standing ovation.)
          I wonder if they will at least half fill the hall.
          Will there be a Zimmer stand beside the bike stand?
          ‘God Save The Queen’ to close?
          Och, I’m just being silly now.

  5. Labour up here has one salvation, Labour for Indy and a guid redd oot of all the dross from past attitudes and yoonery.
    Their conference was westminsterised, pop ups from dahn sath to watch over the “branch” lest it breaks cover and runs for freedom.
    What is noticable us its total irrelevance. It was needed to break the UK strangle hold and bring in devolution ; after that Labour is irrelevant. We can move on in Scotland without the UK satrap . It played the national card when it complained that the Tories had no mandate here under Thatcher, Major et al. Cameron, May have no mandate here either. But Slabour are miffed, the SNP have taken their hallowed right to be in power in Holyrood.
    Their final demise was siding with fervour with the Tories in better together in 2014, dancing jigs when the No vote came in. But the Tories were still in power at the centre.Brown’s vow was gubbed by EVEL. The great clunker was clunked by Cameron and made to look daft, hoodwinked and taken for a ride!
    So Slabour, you have brought it on yourselves. When you have one MP and are in third place at the bottom to the despicable Tories in Holyrood, does that not concern you?
    Their demise was the biggest collapse on Uk/Scottish politics to date. But they just trot on regardless!
    The one honest reaction from Lamont that they were a “branch” led to nothing. No revolts, no review. Just atrophy.

  6. When you first came on the scene Paul. After reading a few of your posts I posted to you that you certainly had a way with words. Seems a long time ago, but I am very pleased that you have not only kept up your auditory standard, but have even improved even more.

    Once found your blog became a must read for me, you have many more followers now I am happy to say.
    However, I am still here and still enjoy the blog as much as I have always done.

  7. I understand that Labour for Indy’s numbers have been growing. Surely the time is now ripe for Labour for Indy to step forward into the limelight and take centre stage within the branch office.

    • Right. When you think, the shadow secy of state for Scotland is not a Scottish MP, and Labour do not attack MUNDELL because they are feart to draw attention to the lack of Mandate, what a pathetic crew the “branch” have become. What is even more worrying for them is their talent pool is diminishing north and south. Out of office now in Scotland and England nationally at Holyrood and Westminster, the old lags are ossifying and the young ones are onlookers! The talent pool is draining fast. No wonder they keep needing broad shoulders from elsewhere, it is a reflection on their collective inadequacies as as party north of the Tweed. It must worry them that people make Glasgow, Glasgow voted Yes in 2014 and in2015 ditched all its Labour MPs! Harris, a former one , now writes sneeringly about Labour for the Torygraph.

  8. One point I have here is that I thought the Lordship for Ali D would have been enough. Are you trying to tell me they are naming a Sub after him now aswell??? I assume the sister ship is HMS Daring, its just they didn’t have enough paint and from what I gather, its about as useless as its namesake…..

  9. I have always been puzzled by what happened following The Great Kirkcaldy Murphy Egg Massacre of 2014.

    Conveniently the media were able to have a cameraman present to film the whole thing and in particular the pictures showed a degree of expectation of forthcoming assault and a peculiar lack of surprise when it happened..

    In spite of the substantial media presence the perpetrator was allowed to leave the scene of the disaster without any of said media setting off in pursuit.

    He was subsequently charged and when he appeared in court he said nothing but his solicitor volunteered the ‘information’ that he was an SNP supporter.

    However, following the trial this individual disappeared without trace never to be followed by the media and interviewed. Such uncharacteristic behaviour by our wonderful media and how convenient.

    Another example of somebody who put a spanner in the SNP works and subsequently disappeared without trace or any further media interest once the job was done was the woman who was allegedly involved with 2 SNP MSPs.

    Of course another media set up was when Murphy was assaulted by walking into and headbutting the placards of the massed crowd of 2 members of the self Styled Scottish Resistance. Needless to say this atrocity was shouted from the rooftops by our ever faithful unionist TV and MSM.

    • I’ve been fascinated by the egg incident, given that Jim’s lectures had hitherto been ignored by London media. Was the egg thrower a regular person?

      Anyway, once it’s over and we’ve got our indy, we might then get our answer!

      In the meantime, we know what to expect!

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